It’s taken me nearly three months, but I am proud to say that the latest draft of this novel has been submitted to the editor.

If you recall, during the spring 2017 I was invited into the first Cohort for Inkshares novel production. Part of that process was looking at the story from the bones up, and during all the work I did for the cohort I realized that the current title of the book doesn’t really fit what it’s become.

Initially this was a graphic novel, a sort of retooling of Akira except with mechs. As I continued to write, the story morphed into something deeper, an exploration of what it means to treat technology as a sort of religion, and what would happen should it actually become one. As such, Isidore’s journey became much more tightly focused on her relationship with the Church of Technology. And the title of the novel, one that used to be about this fun sort of sci-fi romp, didn’t make sense anymore for her story.  

As I wrote this latest draft (number 4), I started thinking about the title and if it still served the story. I came to the realization that it did not. Therefore, I’ve decided to change the title of this book. Without further ado, I would like to introduce you to the new title: Sister of the Circuit. As soon as I made the commitment to the new title, I got super excited about how it connects to the themes of the current iteration of the novel.

Now I step back in the editing queue to wait my turn to see what Inkshares thinks of the book. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. I’m going to pass the time working on another project to give myself some space from Circuit.

Yesterday I got the clearance from editing master extraordinaire Matt Harry to start writing my final draft of Deus Hex Machina. Today I built my new editing scene list to help as a roadmap for what I’ll be doing for the next month. As you can see, most of the book is changing in some way, although a lot of the changes are going to be minor.  I love this part of the process: Getting to dive into the book, polish up the rough edges and round out the wonky corners. It’s like falling in love with the story in a completely new way.

I’m unsure what happens once I’m done with this draft, so for the moment I’m going to assume that I go into an edit phase like the rest of my cohort. My guess is that such an edit will be very brief because we spent so much time upfront preparing for the 4th draft writing phase. 

I can’t help but smile to think how far Isidore RAM has come. I am so proud of this little book, I can’t wait for you to get a chance to read it.



Greetings, Hexers!

I’m plum in the middle of my cohort production cycle for Deus Hex Machina, about to head back into rewrites once I get approval from my editor. In our discussions the illustrious Matt Harry has suggested that I rename the book. I am quite fond of the title I chose for the novel, but I am too close to the subject, so Matt suggested I survey you loverly backers and see what you think. 

Here is a link to a survey. Please hop on over and tell me which of the title options you prefer. The more responses I get the better, but I’m starting with you all because you backed the book and should more say than those that didn’t. At least that’s how I see it.

Thanks so much,

Greetings hexers,

I have a secret that I’ve wanted to share with you, but I haven’t figured out the right way to do it, so I sort of sat on it for a while. Now though, I think it’s time to let you know that Deus Hex Machina is heading into production. Just typing those words gives me a mixture of panic attack and rush of extasy. 

A couple of weeks ago I received an email from Inkshares letting me know that DHM, which had been submitted as a final manuscript in December, was going to be part of a new type of production schedule they were beginning this year. It groups authors into teams called cohorts, and sends them through the production process together as a sort of support system. I, along with several other authors, have been placed in Cohort 1. It’s all kinds of amazing.

As much as I want to blab every single detail about what is going on, I’m not sure how much I’m supposed to say about this process, so I’m going to be a bit coy. Do know that things are happening, great things, and all of them will lead to a better book and a better writer behind it.

So when will you get your books, lovely backers? According to Inkshares a Quill book (the base publishing level that DHM is filed under) has a production length of nine months. I haven’t actually received a timeline yet, so I don’t have a publication date for you. I can however surmise based on that general info that DHM should be out sometime early 2018. If I were a betting Mandie, I would say somewhere around late Winter.

I’m not sure how to end this little announcement. I guess I’ll just say thank you so much for believing in me and my little book, and that you will have your book soon, dear friends. 

Greetings hexers,

It’s been a while since I pinged you all and I thought I’d give a quick update on what is happening in my neck of the words (pun intended).

Firstly I just finished the first draft of a fantasy short story entitled "Aebrin’s Song". I’m letting it percolate for a few weeks before I head into editing. Meanwhile I have begun the planning phase of the sequel to Deus Hex Machina. The first step was to come up with ideas for a title, After much deliberation and a ton of help from friends, I’m happy to announce that the title to the second book in the series will be:

Planning a book is an exhilarating experience, and I am incredibly happy to get a chance to apply all I’ve learned in the last year to this new chapter in Isidore RAM’s life. If you are as excited as I am about this book, feel free to follow it here on Inkshares. I’ve got some character profiles up and will be adding more info as I go.

On the DHM front, I am still waiting for word from Inkshares on when production will start. Once I have more information I’ll let you know.  

Have a great Tuesday and

may the code replicate eternal

I’ve been here before, sitting in the quiet before the end, wondering what lies on the other side of the storm. I am the crazy person who has entered four contests on Inkshares, one of which I won with a group of amazing talents much larger than mine.  Four contests in a year. I can mark them like seasons in my life on Inkshares.

The first contest was my introduction to Inkshares as a whole. The Nerdist contest came along at a time when I was waiting for my final edit to return on Shadow of the Owl, when I had already written a book, created a cover, bought my ISBNs and prepared to self-publish. I hit submit assuming many things, not the least of which was that it would easy (not unlike self-publishing on its own).

Next I tossed Deus Hex Machina into the Sword & Laser the Sequel contest, largely because I already had a funding campaign for Shadow of the Panther up on the site and didn’t want to resubmit. I’m glad I made that choice, because while I didn’t win that contest, I did get far enough to grab interest in the project from outside and even eventually get the book a light publishing contract. The outside interest ended up pushing me to write a book while I was funding it (something I highly suggest no one ever do), writing a book I originally thought would never see the light of day. It was at this point that I promised I would never do another contest, by the way.

When the Nerdist Video Game contest came along, I was at the right place at the right time with a group of writing colleagues who wanted to try something crazy -- submit an anthology. The result was a first place win for Too Many Controllers, to which I submitted a story I had been working on for years that is currently titled "Final Boss." I am incredibly proud of that story, mostly because it represents my overcoming a huge fear of short fiction that’s hounded me since I let fear push me out of the fiction side  of my creative writing degree at USC. 

And now, The List 2016 is drawing to a close. In little under six hours I will be ending my first year with Inkshares the way I began it: Watching a contest end. I  find myself introspective (obviously) rather than dejected at the results of this contest. Sitting seventh in a contest that I was invited into is a rather big honor. I have a finished manuscript waiting until the contest closes today, one that I firmly believe is the best writing I’ve ever done.  No matter what result happens from this contest, I will be able to look back at this year with Inkshares and smile. I have one book published, two more in production once I send in DHM, and many more projects. I have found a community of disparate writers from around the world, and a strange and wonderful company that links them all together in this crazy publishing fever dream. 

What’s next up for me in 2017? I am about to write another couple of short stories in the Shadow of the Owl universe. Once I have those done and published I’ll be planning out the sequel to DHM and then hammering out the next (and final) version of Shadow of the Panther. That book needs to be finished -- it’s been restarted so many times at this point that it must assume I don’t love it. Luckily I have the outline complete on what it’s going to look like, and I think I’ve settled on a premise that will fit the fantasy of the series while still innovating within it.

Two stories, two books, zero contests: that sounds like a great year to me. If 2016 was the year of funding books, I think 2017 will be the year of writing books, and maybe even publishing a couple too.  That sounds pretty great to me.

Greetings hexers and machina pilots,

I just closed the book on the revision of my second draft of Deus Hex Machina. The feedback from the beta readers was positive, so I felt pretty confident in pushing forward with a general language pass on the draft.

In the end, I have about 73,000 words, which comes out to just under 300 pages spread over sixteen chapters. I am very happy with the end result of my personal edits, so no matter what results come of The List contest, I will be submitting my draft to Inkshares on the 31st (that if I can keep my overexcited self from just sending the thing over today) From then the book heads into a production process that takes anywhere from 12 to 18 months

Thank you for supporting this book for the year it took to fund and then write it. Hopefully next year I’ll be talking to you about a book that’s already published. Wouldn’t that be a great way to end 2017? 

One last request: For anyone interested in preordering DHM, there are 10 more days in The List contest, so now’s the perfect time. While you get a copy of the book, you also will help give it a chance to get a full publication contract, which means a spiffy pro cover, even more delicious edits to hone the story, and distribution onto bookstores nationwide. 

Have a great Tuesday friends and as always

May the code replicate eternal.

And then, all of a sudden, it was done.

The second draft of Deus Hex Machina is in the can.  At just over 75,000 words, this is the second book I’ve finished to this point, and the first that I did the edit myself. It’s liberating and terrifying all at the same time. I ended up with the same number of scenes as I began with, although only about 10% of the manuscript has remained the same as the first draft. It’s funny how these things work out.

What’s next for the book? I’m going to be sending it out to beta readers this month, and once I get feedback on it I will dive into a revision of this draft. My hope is the turn the final manuscript over to Inkshares by the end of the year. 

But there’s an interesting wrinkle to this plan: The List 2016. As you know, DHM is in the running for the contest, and if I manage to win, then the book gets a full production treatment, including a developmental edit. While that would delay the process of getting the book published, it would also mean that it would be more polished when it is. That’s the dream, to have the best book possible and share it with as many people as possible.

The chance to win the contest doesn’t actually change my editing timeline really, but it does put a little pressure on the whole "sharing the book with as many as possible" part of the dream. Please, if you haven’t ordered a copy of the book, do so now. With only one month to go in the contest, I am sitting at 7th place. We have lots of new followers of the book since it campaigned a year ago (A year ago today in fact), and I can tell you that now that I am on the other side of this edit the book is better than ever. Like really good. Not perfect, but I’m very proud of how it stands right now.

I need 11 people to order the book to make it into 6th place. Please consider being one of those 11

Thanks, and may the code replicate eternal.

Greetings Hexers and Machina Riders:

Do we have some things to talk about!  So much has happened in the last week my head is spinning. Let’s get right to it:

Extra Life Stream this Evening

I’ll be streaming Heroes of the Storm tonight for the Extra Life charity over on my Twitch channel, starting at 6 PM CST and running until midnight. Come cheer me on as I main Sylvanas and try to figure out if I can still snipe towers behind enemy gates. It should be fun times.  

Donate to my Extra Life fund

If you watch (and even if you can’t) help me get to $100 by donating here. I have already raised $40 for kids in need, so I’m 1/3 of the way there. Woncha help out?

The List 2016 contest

This week Inkshares announced which books were selected for their end-of--the-year contest, and Deus Hex Machina is on The List!  It’s a crazy big honor to be among such amazing books and their authors which leads me to my next item on the agenda:

A ton more Deus Hex Machina stuff is coming

A new contest means a new campaign, so I’ve been working in the last few days to shape what a second campaign for DHM would look like. Astute readers among you will already notice I’ve updated the book’s Inshares page, refereshed my cover concept, and put up a couple new character bios. In addition I have uploaded the revised first chapter from the 2nd draft -- I think you’ll be happy with the changes. 

My edit is plugging right along, and won’t stop just because another contest has popped into my life. You don’t stop feeding your kids just because extended family dropped by unannounced. You pull up extra chairs and make more desserts.

And I plan on more desserts friends. I will try to keep the updates meaningful throughout this contest, but I do have a good amount of fun stuff planned, and I want to share it all with you. 

My goal for this campaign will be to get to 400 readers. It’s a huge crazy unimaginable number, but I think we can do it. If you’re following the book but haven’t purchased, I’ll be reaching out to you personally in the coming weeks to ask for your order. If you have purchased the book, I’ll be reaching out to you personally to ask for your referral. 

In exchange for your support of the book I have planned more goodies: live-edits, fan art contests, a contest for the ARG -- yes Qathren YOBIBYTE got the jump on you Sombra. You got nothin’ on a hexer from the future.

It’s gonna be a fun, weird ride, and I hope you’ll join me. I’ll see you tonight

May the code replicate eternal.

Greetings Hexers and Machina Riders:

Editing is in process on the second draft of Deus Hex Machina (my spreadsheet of many colors is about 60% blue now to indicate finished scenes), and although I had to push into November, I am expecting to be done soon.

But that’s not what I’m here to talk to you about. Today I will be joining forces with Extra Life and starting the first of four gaming sessions where I will stream for charity -- specifically Children’s Hospital of Alabama. My goal is to raise $100 to help kids at the hospital get the treatment they need, and I will be streaming every Sunday evening throughout the month of November over on my Twitch channel. I’ll be starting at 8PM Central, and am thinking it might be fun to let the audience help make my choices as I start a new character in Stardew Valley. If you like watching gaming, stop by and say hi, and if you like what you see, please consider donating to a good cause.


WHO: Well, me, actually.

WHAT: A Charity Gaming Stream for Extra Life

WHEN: 8PM Central every Sunday evening throughout November

WHERE: http://www.twitch.tv/mandifesto

WHY: To raise a minimum of $100 for Children’s of Alabama. Donate here if you want to jump the line and just give money to kids without having to watch me make a fool of myself online. Although, I think that’s half the fun.

See you tonight!

Notable Readers

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Matt Kaye
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Thad Woodman
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Joseph Terzieva
Kelsey Rae Barthel
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Janna Grace
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Matthew Isaac Sobin
Tony Valdez
Brian Guthrie
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A.C. Weston
Brian Fitzpatrick
James Rasile
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C. Brennecke
Joseph Asphahani
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Dave Barrett
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Billy O’Keefe
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Craig A. Munro
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John Robin
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Byron Gillan
Michael Sebby
Thomas J. Arnold